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About the Author: Adam Willows is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness Project. He is a theologian who specializes in philosophical theology, with particular interests in normative ethics, virtue, free will theory, and philosophy of religion.

https://pixabay.com/en/hunting-battue-stone-age-2115397/

Dr. Marc Kissel and I have recently finished teaching a course entitled Violence and Virtues, an exploration of human nature from both anthropological and theological perspectives. Interdisciplinary work is always challenging and interesting; but having now been at the Center for over 2 years, we have both grown a little more used to the difficult – but productive – conversations that this kind of research entails. Teaching across the disciplines, though, has proved to be a very different matter; new and exciting in its own right. I want to use this blog to reflect on some of our experience, and the ways it has impacted our research and our mutual understanding. Continue Reading »

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The Emu in the Sky

About the Author: Marcus Baynes-Rock is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness project. He is an Australian anthropologist whose academic interests lie in the relationships between humans and large carnivores, including these relationships throughout evolutionary history.

Photo by Michael Lynch. Emu @ West Head. https://www.flickr.com/photos/micklynch/5193465866

In Kuringai National Park, just north of Sydney, there’s a site where Aboriginal people have made engravings into the exposed rocks. One of these engravings in particular has garnered a lot of attention. It’s the outline of an emu engraved on the flat surface of a naturally occurring stone slab. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Timothy Reilly is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. He is a developmental psychologist whose work draws from a variety of approaches, including positive psychology, moral development, sociocultural theory, and action theories of development.

When we think of creativity, we often think of grand new ideas and technologies: Einstein’s theories of relativity, the genetic revolution in biology, the cognitive revolution in psychology, and so forth. This can put creativity on a pedestal, something only achievable by geniuses. Nonetheless, creativity is highly valuable, in part because it can expand human capacity, increase efficiency, and generate new possibilities for action.  It is also vital for virtue. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Emanuele Ratti  is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. He is a philosopher of biology interested in the epistemology of contemporary molecular biology with a particular focus on how the field is shaped by developments from a small-science regime to a big-science structure.

Thomas Huxley

In a previous post, I illustrated a deflationary way to talk about the unity of science based on attitudes and cognitive dispositions. Here I want to report another interesting example of this conception of unity.

The issue of the unity of science is, in its most general terms, the question of whether something called science exists at all, or whether there are just different disciplines, unified by historical contingencies but largely independent. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Nathaniel Warne is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science project. He is a philosophical and systematic theologian who works across a range of classic Christian doctrines with a special focus on the doctrine of humanity.

Why not just let words die? Isn’t it a natural phenomenon for language to evolve over time and certain words drop out of use and others replace them? Essayist and philosopher Paul Valéry in early twentieth century said to the French Academy, “Virtue, ladies and Gentlemen, the word virtue is dead.” Continue Reading »

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Why Be Good?

About the Author: Angela Carpenter is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness project. She is a theological ethicist who specializes in moral agency and moral formation from an interdisciplinary perspective, with extra-theological interests in developmental psychology and evolutionary anthropology.

 What motivates human beings to act morally? Are humans seeking to gain approval from others? To avoid punishment? Or is doing the right thing, even when the cost to personal advantage is high, compelling for its own sake? Philosophers and theologians have traditionally claimed that genuinely moral Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Marcus Baynes-Rock is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness project. He is an Australian anthropologist whose academic interests lie in the relationships between humans and large carnivores, including these relationships throughout evolutionary history.

Photo by Marcus Baynes-Rock

Here I would like to pre-empt my paper presentation for the forthcoming conference at Notre Dame’s London Gateway: Wisdom’s Deep Evolution, July 6-9. The ideas I’m presenting here are essentially in line with the paper but the data will likely be different. While I intend to talk about human-canine relationships in London, here I’ll be relying on spotted hyenas to state my case. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Louise Bezuidenhout is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. As a biologist and social scientist, her current research focuses on empirical ethics and uses sociological techniques to investigate ethical issues within the life sciences.

Cover of The Social Construction of Technological Systems, Anniversary Edition, edited by Wiebe Bijker et al., published by The MIT Press.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Social Construction of Technological Systems. This book marked a seminal shift in Science and Technology Studies, and introduced a new way to study technology that gave “equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions.” The contributors to the book argued strongly that the “social groups that constitute the social environment play a critical role in defining and solving the problems that arise during the development of an artefact” (p. 6). Continue Reading »

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